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Human Nature in Action
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Arthur C. Clarke won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science, and the future, most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke died in March, 2008. He said in an interview that he had arranged to have DNA from strands of his hair sent into orbit. “One day, some super civilization may encounter this relic from the vanished species and I may exist in another time,” he said.* This story highlights the enigma of our existence — we are mortal, yet we want to live. Why is this so?

1. What does the Bible say about human nature? Genesis 1:26, 27

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness . . .’ So God created man in his own image  . . . male and female he created them.” This means, as personal beings, we can have fellowship with God. God gave us delegated authority to procreate, populate the earth, and care for nature (see Genesis 1:28; 2:15).

2. What choice did God give our first parents, showing they weren’t robots? Genesis 2:16, 17

“ ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’ ”

Being able to choose is what makes us moral creatures. God, as the Source of the greatest love, wants us to obey Him because we love Him. Death is a consequence of sin, not merely a punishment for sin — just as it’s a consequence of bungee jumping without a rope.

Rebellion in Heaven

3. Who rebelled in heaven? Revelation 12:9


“That ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”

4. Contradicting God, what did the serpent say when tempting Eve to eat the forbidden fruit? Genesis 3:4

“‘You will not surely die.’”

Our first parents had conditional immortality. Now we can only become immortal through grace as a gift of God. “Thus Paul describes immortality as a future acquisition . . . not a present possession, and as a privilege reserved for the righteous, . . . not the inalienable right of all mankind or a property of the human soul” (M. J. Harris, New Dictionary of Theology).

5. What position did Lucifer (Latin for “Morning Star,” which was the devil’s name before he rebelled) want? Isaiah 14:14

“‘I will make myself like the Most High.’”

6. How did Satan present that same desire to our first parents, if they ate the forbidden fruit? Genesis 3:5

“‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”

7. What is the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin? Romans 5:12

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”

As soon as Adam and Eve sinned (see Genesis 3:1–7), God promised a Savior, to be born of a woman, who would deal with sin and destroy the devil (verses 14, 15).

8. How did Jesus — the promised Savior — accomplish our salvation? Hebrews 2:14, 15

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us, that only God can fill. A fulfilling life now and eternal life are gifts He offers to all who accept Him as Savior.

*Ravi Nessman, “Writer Arthur C. Clarke Dies at 90,” Associated Press, March 18, 2008.
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Bible Discovery by Errol Webster. Reprinted with permission by SIGNS. Biblebay © 2001-2014, Westlake Village, CA.